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River Notes Archive

(Links and other information are historical in nature and may no longer be correct. Products referenced in the archives may no longer be available. References to products on sale do not apply.)

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Streamlines News and Info for Paddlers
S T R E A M L I N E S
News & Info for Paddlers
Updated 01/12/05

o A new state law may force people who cross storm-swollen creeks or kayak during floods to foot the bill if their excursions end in an emergency rescue. City officials haven't decided whether kayaker should pay about $4,500 for his rescue Sunday, when city firefighters hauled him out of a downtown creek. More.

o What rescue equip. do you carry? Shoes, of course, though I'm pretty optimistic. Most down-days I carry rope, knife, handpaddles, couple caribiners, Cliff bar, lighter, and one Petzl Ti-bloc. I've got a little Adventure Medical Kit I've enhanced with Lortabs, Flexeril, and a space blanket for steep, remote, or long days. I've got a wad of orange flagging tape I use to mark new wood on popular runs. I carry more food, gloves, balaclava, and headlamp for cold days or late starts. . .West Coast/ international creeking I've got float-bags, iodine or a water filter, and a firm knowledge of my walk-out options (or map). People often forget how much safety equipment you can store in your brain - weight free.(Clay Wright) More

o The Environmental Protection Agency is close to issuing new guidelines making it easier for sewage authorities to dump partially treated wastewater during heavy rainfalls, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. More.

o Watercraft have long played a vital role in the cultures of most First Peoples in Canada. Indian and Inuit boat builders have produced many varieties of wooden dugout, bark canoe and skin boat, each designed for specific purposes and particular conditions. This selection of Native watercraft from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s collections highlights the creativity and skill of Indian and Inuit boat builders. More.

o Misconception: Rivers that flow through federal land (National Parks, National Forests, etc.) belong to federal agencies, whose "river management plans" can determine when, and if, navigation and recreation will be allowed. Fact: Physically navigable rivers that flow through federal lands are still held in trust for the public by the states. River management plans must preserve the public's paramount rights to navigate and recreate on these rivers. More.

Splashes: Rolling - AW Safety Code - River Quotes - Foamies - Water Art

River Notes for Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Important information about River Notes.

Skies have finally cleared following epic series of Pacific storms. Today's Regional Snowpack Summary from California Cooperative Snow Surveys reports the Sierra South Section at 251% of normal for the date and 104% of the April 1 average. Statewide the snowpack is reported at 202% of normal for the date and 90% of the April 1 average.

Kern basin snowpack totals are impressive. Five of eight Kern basin snow sensors (Crabtree Meadow, Pascoes, Tunnel Guard Station, Wet Meadows and Casa Vieja Meadows) report snow water equivalents at or above 100% of the April 1 (seasonal) average, and over 200% of normal for the date. The snow sensor at Wet Meadows recorded more than 13 inches water equivalent added to the snowpack since noon on January 6th.

How does the Kern snowpack compare to other BIG years on this date? Snow sensors indicate there is more snow water content in the pack at this point than in the big El Nino year of 1997-98, or the big winters of '69 and ''86. There may even be as much water content as the biggest Winter in the last 34 years, 1982-83. That season, on this date, there was more snow at Upper Tyndall Creek, but less at Pascoes. More accurate comparisons should be possible after the first Kern basin snow course measurements become available at the end of the month. However it compares, there is a ton of snow!

Most of the snow occurred when a northern stream upper low moved down from the Gulf of Alaska, set up shop off the west coast, and propelled a conveyor belt of southern stream moisture and jet energy into California. Orographic lifting on the slopes of the Sierra did its magic, effectively squeezing the moisture from the flow.

For a period of about 30 hours on Saturday into Sunday, the warmth of the southern stream raised snow levels, increasing run-off, but fortunately not eroding the snowpack above about 7500 ft. The run-off did increase the flow on the Upper Kern, resulting in peaks of about 4000 cfs on Monday and 5600 cfs on Tuesday. This afternoon the Upper is running about 1200 cfs.

Further south, streams in Southern California went ballistic, approaching, and in some cases exceeding, peak flows recorded in the major rain event years of 1938, 1969, 1978, 1983, and 1998. In the 5:00 PM hour of January 9th, the LATS river gage on the Los Angeles River above Wardlow St. recorded a peak flow of 76,016 cfs! That same afternoon at 2:15, the USGS gage on Sespe Creek near Fillmore recorded a stage level of 16.81 feet and (uncorrected) flow of 72,600 cfs; and continued to rise to a peak of 19.0 ft. at 4:15 PM. Photos of the Ventura River, Santa Clara River, Sespe Creek and many other storm related photos can be found on the Ventura County Star's community photo blog.

Is all this rain and snow because of El Nino? While the "have you looked outside" answer would have to be "yes," the Jan 6, 2005 El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Advisory states that the circulation pattern observed is " not consistent with El Niño." After stalling for a couple of months, the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) took a modest upturn in Oct/Nov to 0.83, and decreased somewhat in Nov/Dec to 0.68. These MEI values ranked 42 of 55 and 41 of 55, where the coldest La Nina would rank 1 and the warmest El Nino 55. On his MEI page, Dr. Klaus Wolter compares the 2004-2005 El Niño to the El Niños of 1963, 1977, 1994, and 2002.

In terms of antecedent conditions and MEI behavior, this year's El Nino appears most similar to the El Nino of 1977-78. So far the amount of snow in the Sierra and rainfall in Southern California are also comparable. On January 12, 1978, the snow sensor at Upper Tyndall Creek reported 15.7 inches water equivalent, and that year the snow eventually reached a maximum value of 53 inches. Wow! We can't say how much snow will fall between now and the Spring thaw, but the Precipitation Outlook issued December 31, 2004 indicates a better chance for above average precipitation, than not.

A plot of the water content at the Pascoes snow sensor for the 1977-78 season shows that it was not a continuously snowy year. At Pascoes, there was a two week period without recorded snow from January 20 to February 4, 1978; and another two week stretch from February 14 to 28. The majority of the snow that fell after January 20th was from two storms. A huge storm in early February 1978 dumped 15 inches snow water equivalent at Pascoes, and another large storm in early March produced 10 inches snow water equivalent. Every year it seems the Winter snow and Spring melt throw something new our way, so we will see what happens this year!

Check out the new Dagger Crazy 88s and Mambas, and the Jackson All Star in the New Boat Barn. Here's a shot of Sierra South's Paul Armes getting in some Winter boating in an All Star.

Here is a snapshot of today's flow and reservoir data, based on reports from the Corps of Engineers (COE) and Southern California Edison (SCE). Click on "Current" to get the latest COE info. For SCE flow information, call the flow phone at 877-537-6356 or 760-376-8821. According to SCE, the flow phone values reported for Above & Below Fairview, and Below Democrat Dam are updated every 5-10 seconds. All other flow phone data is manually updated twice a day (7am & 2pm) when an operator is on duty.


 

Upper Kern

Lower Kern

Above Fairview* Below Fairview* At Kernville Lake Isabella Below Democrat Dam*
Date & Time Flow (cfs) Flow (cfs) Stage Flow (cfs) Total Outflow to River to Borel Canal Storage
(acre-feet)
Flow (cfs)
12JAN2005 1500 -- -- 6.42 1170 557 16 541 116888 --
Kern Flow Info Current 5 Day Plot 10 Day Plot Month WY '04 WY '03 WY '02 WY '01 WY '00
Weather NWS NWS Zones CNN Washington Post Satellite Radar Kernville RAWS RAWS Archive
*Flow values from SCE Flow Phone. For current information call 877-537-6356 or 760-376-8821. According to SCE the flow values reported for Above & Below Fairview, and Below Democrat Dam are updated every 5-10 seconds. All other flow phone data is manually updated twice a day (7am & 2pm) when an operator is on duty.

More information concerning flow and weather can be found on our LINKS page.

 

Streamlines News and Info for Paddlers
S T R E A M L I N E S
News & Info for Paddlers
Updated 01/12/05

o A new state law may force people who cross storm-swollen creeks or kayak during floods to foot the bill if their excursions end in an emergency rescue. City officials haven't decided whether kayaker should pay about $4,500 for his rescue Sunday, when city firefighters hauled him out of a downtown creek. More.

o What rescue equip. do you carry? Shoes, of course, though I'm pretty optimistic. Most down-days I carry rope, knife, handpaddles, couple caribiners, Cliff bar, lighter, and one Petzl Ti-bloc. I've got a little Adventure Medical Kit I've enhanced with Lortabs, Flexeril, and a space blanket for steep, remote, or long days. I've got a wad of orange flagging tape I use to mark new wood on popular runs. I carry more food, gloves, balaclava, and headlamp for cold days or late starts. . .West Coast/ international creeking I've got float-bags, iodine or a water filter, and a firm knowledge of my walk-out options (or map). People often forget how much safety equipment you can store in your brain - weight free.(Clay Wright) More

o The Environmental Protection Agency is close to issuing new guidelines making it easier for sewage authorities to dump partially treated wastewater during heavy rainfalls, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. More.

o Watercraft have long played a vital role in the cultures of most First Peoples in Canada. Indian and Inuit boat builders have produced many varieties of wooden dugout, bark canoe and skin boat, each designed for specific purposes and particular conditions. This selection of Native watercraft from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s collections highlights the creativity and skill of Indian and Inuit boat builders. More.

o Misconception: Rivers that flow through federal land (National Parks, National Forests, etc.) belong to federal agencies, whose "river management plans" can determine when, and if, navigation and recreation will be allowed. Fact: Physically navigable rivers that flow through federal lands are still held in trust for the public by the states. River management plans must preserve the public's paramount rights to navigate and recreate on these rivers. More.

Splashes: Rolling - AW Safety Code - River Quotes - Foamies - Water Art

River Notes for Thursday, January 6, 2005

Important information about River Notes.

Surface low west of California and associated upper level shortwave plow into the state on Friday producing significant rain and snow. Then a northern stream upper low is forecast to dive down the west coast, combine with southern stream moisture and jet energy, and produce even more precipitation.

Update 01/10/2005 7:00 A.M. Snow level in Kern River basin is lowering. Upper Kern at Kernville has leveled out at around 4000 cfs and may not go much higher. Wet Meadows snow sensor at 8950 ft. reports snow water content of 27.0 inches and temp of 27 degrees. USGS gage on Sespe Creek near Fillmore may have been damaged.

Update 01/09/2005 2:00 P.M. Snow and rain in Southern Sierra, continuing into Tuesday. Several Kern basin snow sensors could reach 90-100% of normal SEASON total by Wednesday. Temperature reported by Wet Meadows (8950 ft.) snow sensor is 32 degrees. So far snowpack at Casa Vieja Meadow (8300 ft.) and above appears to be holding up well. Upper Kern at Kernville reported at 2512 cfs -- has risen average of about 110 cfs an hour over last 19 hours. USGS gage on Sespe Creek near Fillmore in Southern California is reporting flow of 72,600 cfs.

Update 01/07/05 1:00 PM. ARL analysis of 18z ETA now generates over 7.0 inches water equivalent at Kern Point in the Southern Sierra from mid-morning today through Monday evening.

This morning, the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) is forecasting more than 7 inches (water equivalent) of precipitation in much of the Sierra over the next 5 days. This morning's ETA weather model generates over 4 inches water equivalent in the Southern Sierra from early Friday morning to early Sunday.

One potential issue will be rising snow levels on Saturday. Just how much the snow level goes up in various areas of the Kern River basin depends on how the cold northern stream low and warm southern stream interact. Generally, areas to the south should see larger increases in the snow level than areas of the basin to the north. Significant lower elevation snow exists, so rain may fall on snow in some areas, increasing the run-off.

California Cooperative Snow Surveys Regional Snowpack Summary, issued January 5, reports the Sierra Southern Section snowpack at 182% of normal. By this time next week, the snowpack could exceed 200% of normal and be approaching the normal April 1 average. We'll see!

After stalling for a couple of months, development of the current El Niño took a modest upturn in December, with the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) increasing from 0.54 to 0.83. This increase ranks the current ENSO in the upper third of MEI values for the season, and according to Klaus Wolter's MEI page, comparable to the El Niños of 1963, 1977, 1994, and 2002. Generally, the stronger the El Niño, the more precipitation in the the southern half of California. Another update of the MEI is due soon.

Check out the new Dagger Crazy 88s and Mambas, and the Jackson All Star in the New Boat Barn. Here's a shot of Sierra South's Paul Armes getting in some Winter boating in an All Star.

Here is a snapshot of today's flow and reservoir data, based on reports from the Corps of Engineers (COE) and Southern California Edison (SCE). Click on "Current" to get the latest COE info. For SCE flow information, call the flow phone at 877-537-6356 or 760-376-8821. According to SCE, the flow phone values reported for Above & Below Fairview, and Below Democrat Dam are updated every 5-10 seconds. All other flow phone data is manually updated twice a day (7am & 2pm) when an operator is on duty.


 

Upper Kern

Lower Kern

Above Fairview* Below Fairview* At Kernville Lake Isabella Below Democrat Dam*
Date & Time Flow (cfs) Flow (cfs) Stage Flow (cfs) Total Outflow to River to Borel Canal Storage
(acre-feet)
Flow (cfs)
06JAN2005 0800 -- -- 4.90 308 370 211 159 94083 --
Kern Flow Info Current 5 Day Plot 10 Day Plot Month WY '04 WY '03 WY '02 WY '01 WY '00
Weather NWS NWS Zones CNN Washington Post Satellite Radar Kernville RAWS RAWS Archive
*Flow values from SCE Flow Phone. For current information call 877-537-6356 or 760-376-8821. According to SCE the flow values reported for Above & Below Fairview, and Below Democrat Dam are updated every 5-10 seconds. All other flow phone data is manually updated twice a day (7am & 2pm) when an operator is on duty.

More information concerning flow and weather can be found on our LINKS page.

 

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